Filled with wonder
6 hours ago
"True ambition is not what we thought it was. True ambition is the deep desire to live usefully and walk humbly under the grace of God." (Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, 125)
"When a job still looked like a mere means of getting money rather than an opportunity for service, when the acquisition of money for financial independence looked more important that a right dependence upon God, we were still the victims of unreasonable fears. And these were fears which would make a serene and useful existence, at any financial level, quite impossible" (121.)Financial security, a desire to make sure that my nest is warm and comfy as I get close to retirement, is at the root of my fears. The point of all this unsatisfying effort. The cause of the sharp arguments I have with my partner. Self-striving instead of right dependence opens up the abyss for me.
Step Twelve: "Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs."Just for today.
We also fall into another similar temptation. We form ideas as to what we think God's will is for other people. We say to ourselves, “This one ought to be cured of his fatal malady,” or “That one ought to be relieved of his emotional pain,” and we pray for these specific things. Such prayers, of course, are fundamentally good acts, but often they are based upon a supposition that we know God's will for the person for whom we pray. This means that side by side with an earnest prayer there can be a certain amount of presumption and conceit in us. It is A.A.'s experience that particularly in these cases we ought to pray that God's will, whatever it is, be done for others as well as for ourselves.
The will of God is not a 'fate' to which we must submit, but a creative act in our life that produces something absolutely new, something hitherto unforeseen by the laws and established patterns. Our cooperation consists not solely in conforming to the external laws, but in opening our wills to this mutually creative act.
The less people tolerated us, the more we withdrew from society, from life itself. As we became subjects of King Alcohol, shivering denizens of his mad realm, the chilling vapor that is loneliness settled down. It thickened, ever becoming blacker. Some of us sought out sordid places, hoping to find understanding companionship and approval. Momentarily we did - then would come oblivion and the awful awakening to face the hideous Four Horsemen - Terror, Bewilderment, Frustration, Despair. Unhappy drinkers who read this page will understand!I have often joked that the best think and the worst thing about recovery was getting my feelings back. Truthfully, all those feelings come from relationships. I like the quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupery, "Man is a knot into which relationships are tied." The joys and the pain that comes from hanging out with others, with trying to live my life with another. I was really surprised how clear it was laid out on page 80 of the 12&12:
... defective relations with other human beings have nearly always been the immediate cause of our woes, including our alcoholism ...I have shared, in the past, of how I have left meetings with tears on my face because I did not get what I had hoped for at the meeting. One of the most powerful pieces of recovery literature (for me) was an essay Bill W. wrote, a meditation on love, St. Francis, dependency, and depression. He wrote:
Suddenly, I realized what the matter was. My basic flaw had always been dependence, almost absolute dependence, on people or circumstances to supply me with prestige, security, and the like. Failing to get these things according to my perfectionist dreams and specifications, I had fought for them. And when defeat came, so did my depression.
There wasn´t a chance of making the outgoing love of St. Francis a workable and joyous way of life until these fatal and almost absolute dependencies were cut away.In the same essay, Bill W. gave me this wonderful bit from his experience:
Because I had over the years undergone a little spiritual development, the absolute quality of these frightful dependencies had never before been so starkly revealed. Reinforced by what grace I could secure in prayer, I found I had to exert every ounce of will and action to cut off these faulty emotional dependencies upon people, upon AA, indeed upon any act of circumstance whatsoever.Working the steps is not a simple task. It takes honesty, openness, and willingness. It is work and the results are deeply worth it. Bill concludes with:
Of course, I haven´t offered you a really new idea --- only a gimmick that has started to unhook several of my own hexes´ at depth. Nowadays, my brain no longer races compulsively in either elation, grandiosity or depression. I have been given a quiet place in bright sunshine.